Service hat-trick gives Reds comfortable victory!
By Jo firstname.lastname@example.org
Newton Stewart top of the league with eleven games played.
Last weekend saw the Reds travel to Carrick RFC in Maybole for their latest league fixture. Rivalry between these two sides is always fierce, and the games are intense as a result.
Newton Stewart were liveliest out of the traps in this game, pressurising Carrick immediately from kick-off. An early try came from the Reds when winger Jamie Muir received the ball in space near the try line before running straight through the home defences. He overcame the covering full-back with a superb hand-off to score the opening points of the game. Centre Fraser Morton (capt) added the conversion to make it a 0-7 lead.
There was lots of creative play from Newton Stewart, with scrum-half Robbie McCornick and full-back Russell Morton interacting well together, however some needless errors hindered the Reds from racking up the points in these early stages.
With 25 minutes played a scrum was set just 10 metres out from the Carrick try line. Back row James Wallace burst off the back of the scrum and put a pass in to winger Robert Service who ran on into the far corner to score. Morton converted once again for 0-14.
Carrick took possession a few minutes later and made to break up the park. Sensing the approaching danger, Service made a fantastic tap tackle at full stretch to negate it temporarily.
When the home side kicked the ball deep into the Newton Stewart half shortly after it was stand-off David Gaw who was forced into a foot race with the Carrick back line. Getting to the ball first he secured it confidently whilst his team-mates ran to assist and Robbie McCornick cleared the ball moments later.
Prop Ronan MacDonald made his mark at the breakdown, winning a penalty for the Reds just before half-time.
Carrick’s openside flanker was shown a red card moments later for dangerous play, deliberately dropping his opposite man Calum Gaw with his feet above his head. When the resultant penalty led to a rolling maul it was Ronan McDonald who was tasked with guiding the ball over the line, and he fell down upon it to score Newton Stewart’s third try of the game to go into the break 0-19 ahead.
The second half started with some fancy footwork from David Gaw as he danced through the Carrick defence before throwing the ball wide. Service collected it and backed himself once more, running in his second try for Fraser Morton to convert.
Some loose defence from the Reds allowed Carrick a scoring opportunity next, with their scrum-half capitulating to narrow the score to 7-26.
Some great tackling came from Fraser Morton now, as well as second row Connal McDonald and hooker Thomas MacDonald. The game was generally scrappy, and deteriorating with time, however Allan Ferrie impressed with some big carries and a covering tackle which took danger straight into touch.
The referee intervened with increasing regularity as the game went on and showed yellow cards to both centre Liam Brawls and flanker Russell Gaw.
Fourteen Carrick men played thirteen Newton Stewart men in the dying minutes, however the Reds produced a try despite the deficit. Prop Martin Wallace, on from the bench, started the move with a great break, dummying two players on route. As the ball was passed along the line it went loose and was twice kicked upfield. Robert Service collected it neatly on the line to score his hat-trick of tries and close out the game at 7-31.
This was far from the Reds’ best performance this season and opportunities existed to racked up more points that they did. With that said there were some good individual performances. Ewan Dewar put in a fantastic shift, doing a power of work in the 60 minutes he featured, while Fraser Morton tackled confidently and led by example.
Man of the match though was winger Robert Service. Not only did he score three superb tries, he made a couple of important covering tackles, pressurised his opponents under the high ball, and his tap tackle in the first half was an impressive athletic feat. Carrick are renowned for having some of the fastest backs in the league, however Service not only matched them, he outshone them. An excellent performance.
With main rivals Gordonians RFC’s game having been postponed, Newton Stewart are now top of the league by default at this halfway stage.
This weekend Newton Stewart must make the long slog to Thurso to play Caithness RFC, a difficult team to play anywhere, but particularly at home on the back of a 9-hour bus trip. The Reds must make sure they arrive prepared for the physical battle which this highland side always give.
Team: Russell Morton, Robert Service, Fraser Morton (capt), Liam Brawls, Jamie Muir, David Gaw, Robbie McCornick, Ross Campbell, Thomas MacDonald, Ronan McDonald, Allan Ferrie, William McCornick, Ewan Dewar, Calum Gaw, James Wallace. Subs: David Adams, Connal McDonald, Martin Wallace, Russell Gaw.